Headline : Steps to cement ties with China Editorial 10th Apr’19 IndianExpress
Focus must remain on foreign policy even in election season:
- Even as India heads into a general election, it is important to keep focus on and not lose track of how the country must shape its foreign policy over the coming five years.
- Suggestions, inputs, advice on these issues will be valuable to whichever government is formed.
- Within the larger foreign policy matrix, India’s relations with China constitute one of our most important challenges in the national security arena.
- Thus, analysts continues to be pay attention regarding the next steps in India-China ties.
Possible next steps in India-China ties for the new government:
- Regular high level interaction:
- Given the nature of China’s polity, which is highly centralised, it will continue to remain important to drive the relationship from the top down.
- Therefore, there should be intense political interaction, starting with the top leadership and filtering down to the ministerial level and then senior official level.
- It will be essential to have an early visit to India by Chinese President in the second half of 2019 to keep up the momentum from the Wuhan Informal Summit of April 2018 as well as to impart new impulses with the new government in India.
- Informal summits also useful:
- The positive aspect of the informal summit format (like the Wuhan Summit) is that it permits just the two leaders to interact with each other over significant amounts of time, thereby enabling strategic communication on all relevant aspects.
- Such an exchange of views is indeed of significant value, especially amongst nations which need to build upon mutual trust.
- Enhanced military-to-military interaction and cooperation
- It will be important to enhance military-to-military interaction and cooperation between India and China.
- Currently, the exchanges are mainly between the armies of the two countries.
- It will be essential to expand this to the navies, which are meeting on the high seas more often.
- Such exchanges should go beyond mere symbolism (like study visits, port calls) and aim at getting a better understanding of the doctrines, practices and assessments of the other side.
- On the border, there is a need for new confidence-building measures, which will aim at defusing the increasing close proximity situations that have been witnessed in the recent past. Additional Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) may also have to be put into place.
- More balanced trade:
- To address the increasingly adverse balance of trade India experiences with China, it is essential to work with the Chinese government to ensure greater market access in China for Indian pharmaceutical products, particularly our cheap formulations.
- Also, we must look at the “invisible” part of our payment balance with China and make a focused effort at attracting more Chinese tourists.
- Marketing Incredible India in China will be a first step, but we shall also have to work with Chinese travel agents, the various airlines which fly between our countries, the new online agencies as well as the social media methodology to popularise India as a tourism destination.
- If such an effort is indeed made, our mountains and our beaches, our temples and our heritage sites, our Buddhist trail as well as our wildlife sanctuaries are likely to be hugely popular with the Chinese.
- It is important to acknowledge that China has rediscovered Bollywood, as seen by the success of recent movies in China.
- While Bollywood will continue to tap the Chinese market on its own, since the government is important in China, India should offer whatever assistance may be required by our filmmakers in marketing their ware in China.
- Films are important since they are a vehicle for promoting mutual trust and understanding between societies and peoples, while at the same time helping earn our movie-makers important markets and foreign exchange.
- India’s other export which is reaching out to millions of ordinary Chinese folk is yoga.
- We must continue to promote yoga in China and, once again, this is best done through the private sector, but the government could consider effecting policies which promote this export.
- It is significant that in order to celebrate International Yoga Day in China on June 21 each year, our official outposts in that country are able to bring in as many as 8,000 to 10,000 people at each of the many events in China.
- It will be essential to engage China in the field of sports, where they are extremely strong.
- We can encourage Chinese coaches in table tennis, gymnastics, track and field, as well as shooting, archery and swimming to come to India and train our youngsters.
- We shall benefit from such assistance.
- Cooperation on global issues:
- On global issues, India has established the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in partnership with France with its headquarters in India. China, which is an important manufacturer of solar panels and other related equipment, must join the ISA at an early date.
- This would be a win-win proposition for both countries and will provide an excellent example of how the two can work together in international organisations.
- Now that Japan and Saudi Arabia have joined the ISA, it is time to step up our encouragement to China to participate in this important area of environmental policy where we have no fundamental differences.
- India must continue working with China to convince them that they must remove their hold at the UN Security Council on the listing of Masood Azhar under the 1267 sanctions.
- The negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are now mainly between India and China.
- We must ensure that RCEP has a strong commitment with respect to services and the movement of natural persons which is important for India.
- Simultaneous stronger ties with other players in the region:
- It is important to understand that better relations with China do not mean we have to go slow in our relations with other countries — whether the ASEAN or Australia, Japan or the US.
- Putting our links with China on a firmer footing can be done simultaneously with stronger ties with other players in the region.
GS Paper III: International Relations
Section : Miscellaneous